That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems

That Is Not a Good Idea! is a good old-fashioned cautionary tale, but with an unexpected and quirky twist. The premise is simple enough: a wily fox invites a naive-looking goose to dinner and she goes along with everything he proposes… or so it seems.

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What makes this book stand out are clever touches like the addition of the amusing recurring audience of baby goslings, who pop up intermittently whenever the goose seems to be making a ‘dangerous’ decision, chipping in with ominously foreboding “That is not a good idea” warnings. Their two cents are more like asides to the reader, though, since the goslings seem to be ‘outside’ the scenes, yet are privy to everything that is going on between the fox and the goose.

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Another surprise relates to how the book has been designed to be ‘viewed’ as though it were a show: inspired by the black-and-white silent movies of old, the author has purposely presented the dialogue for each illustrated scene on a starkly black background, which appears after or before, rather than within, each scene, thus creating a unique and engaging reading experience.

So as not to spoil the story, it suffices to say that the hilariously devised plot twist at the end will get readers chuckling β€” and explain the curious presence of the goslings throughout the story. Brilliant storytelling indeed.

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